D&D 5E Orichalcum?

Kurotowa

Legend
Alright, spitballing from first principles here. In D&D 5e we already have mithril armor, which is extra light, and adamantine armor, which is extra hard. So we need a third quality to add here, preferably one that's both useful to adventurers and thematic with gold. And I am looking at armor, because weapon material isn't really a thing in 5e, it's more just flavor for how and why a weapon is magical.

One obvious idea is to make it heavy, the counterpart to mithril. But it's hard to theorize a useful armor that's super heavy. We could maybe make it magic conductive, but that's just a generic component for magic items. Well, how about magic resistant then? It wouldn't be too hard to steal the mechanics for Spellguard Shield where you have advantage on spell saves and spell attacks against you have disadvantage. A little unoriginal, but serviceable. Or heck, maybe just rewrite Spellguard Shields as Orichalcum Shields. Say that orichalcum is too rare and too heavy to make full armors out of it, but a shield is enough to ward of many harmful magics.

But to get back to the original request... if you want an orichalcum sword, just pick any magic sword in the book and give it a fancy look and history.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Alright, spitballing from first principles here. In D&D 5e we already have mithril armor, which is extra light, and adamantine armor, which is extra hard. So we need a third quality to add here, preferably one that's both useful to adventurers and thematic with gold. And I am looking at armor, because weapon material isn't really a thing in 5e, it's more just flavor for how and why a weapon is magical.

One obvious idea is to make it heavy, the counterpart to mithril. But it's hard to theorize a useful armor that's super heavy. We could maybe make it magic conductive, but that's just a generic component for magic items. Well, how about magic resistant then? It wouldn't be too hard to steal the mechanics for Spellguard Shield where you have advantage on spell saves and spell attacks against you have disadvantage. A little unoriginal, but serviceable. Or heck, maybe just rewrite Spellguard Shields as Orichalcum Shields. Say that orichalcum is too rare and too heavy to make full armors out of it, but a shield is enough to ward of many harmful magics.

But to get back to the original request... if you want an orichalcum sword, just pick any magic sword in the book and give it a fancy look and history.
That seems to me to be the demonstrably least fun way to represent something in a game, "invent a backstory, make sure nothing changes in the mechanics". The polar opposite of my style.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
That seems to me to be the demonstrably least fun way to represent something in a game, "invent a backstory, make sure nothing changes in the mechanics". The polar opposite of my style.
I look at it with the same eye as I do Artificers flavoring their spells according to their tool proficiencies. You can have a dwarven forged blade that was fired in the heart of a volcano and has a flame ruby bargained from an efreeti in the hilt that burns with eternal heat. And you can have a sword engraved by an archmage with runes inked with powdered phoenix feather and red dragon ichor such that flames dance at the wielder's command. And both of them are, mechanically, a Flame Tongue, because nothing in the book says a Flame Tongue has to be forged in any specific way.

I mean sure, if you want one to be mightier you can punch it up a little, add an extra +1 and a secondary power in line with an artifact's Minor Beneficial Power. But you're starting at a baseline of "Magic fire swords use the Flame Tongue stats".
 


Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I look at it with the same eye as I do Artificers flavoring their spells according to their tool proficiencies. You can have a dwarven forged blade that was fired in the heart of a volcano and has a flame ruby bargained from an efreeti in the hilt that burns with eternal heat. And you can have a sword engraved by an archmage with runes inked with powdered phoenix feather and red dragon ichor such that flames dance at the wielder's command. And both of them are, mechanically, a Flame Tongue, because nothing in the book says a Flame Tongue has to be forged in any specific way.

I mean sure, if you want one to be mightier you can punch it up a little, add an extra +1 and a secondary power in line with an artifact's Minor Beneficial Power. But you're starting at a baseline of "Magic fire swords use the Flame Tongue stats".
See, I hate reflavoring with the fury of a million suns, so for me personally that doesn't work. I'm sure other people are fine with it though.
 

Mecheon

Sacabambaspis
I feel again the temptation to write up homebrew for magical materials. But I already have three other homebrew things I'm working on. I should finish at least two of them before adding anything more...
I mean, I've been sitting on a bunch of 'man I loved playing that old Metalurgy mod for Minecraft plus Tinkers that let me make some crazy weapons' for a while. Y"know, just. Go into the mystical fairytale dimension to get mythril and fantasy metals, go to hell to get fun stuff like Vyroxeres (which poisons everything you hit with it) or Sanguinite (to lifesteal) or Tartarite (to cause your opponents to wither away into dust)

Y'know. As you do.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
See, I hate reflavoring with the fury of a million suns, so for me personally that doesn't work. I'm sure other people are fine with it though.
So...why? Like, I get that this is an emotional reaction and emotions are sometimes "because I do, there is no reason," but this is the kind of thing that usually arises from a conflict of some kind. Even if it's a personal/subjective/idiosyncratic one.

And I just....don't get it. As long as it's staying within the realm of "a magic item empowered both by the materials used and by magic woven into the blade as it is created," I don't understand why such material substitution is a problem. I mean, we give the same types of fire spells to demons, dragons, and elementals (or to sorcerers and warlocks whose powers derive from radically different sources)--why is it okay that spells work the same regardless of their supernatural source, but utterly unacceptable that red dragon blood, efreeti rubies, and malebranche horn extract can all power the same kind of magical fire on a magical weapon?
 

Shadowdweller00

Adventurer
But to get back to the original request... if you want an orichalcum sword, just pick any magic sword in the book and give it a fancy look and history.
I try to avoid introducing game elements that are purely or mostly cosmetic, personally. I think it leads to players being disengaged from the game world. I want them figuring out how stuff works, interacting, plotting, scheming, and tricking their way through things.

One obvious idea is to make it heavy, the counterpart to mithril. But it's hard to theorize a useful armor that's super heavy. We could maybe make it magic conductive, but that's just a generic component for magic items.
Just brainstorming on the concept of "heavy": A magical material that's heavy might provide some sort of resistance to forced movement and/or bonus to shove attempts at the expense, maybe, of checks involving fatigue and endurance. Per my very limited understanding of physics "heavier" generally implies increased mass and therefore inertia (resistance to being accelerated or slowed); in addition to increased friction (aka resistance to being pushed along a given surface).

Probably not worth the downsides of heavier in the real world, but D&D doesn't model fatigue, stamina, and encumbrance in combat very well.
 
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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I try to avoid introducing game elements that are purely or mostly cosmetic, personally. I think it leads to players being disengaged from the game world. I want them figuring out how stuff works, interacting, plotting, scheming, and tricking their way through things.


Just brainstorming on the concept of "heavy": A magical material that's heavy might provide some sort of resistance to forced movement and/or bonus to shove attempts at the expense, maybe, of checks involving fatigue and endurance. Per my very limited understanding of physics "heavier" generally implies increased mass and therefore inertia (resistance to being accelerated or slowed); in addition to increased friction (aka resistance to being pushed along a given surface).

Probably not worth the downsides of heavier in the real world, but D&D doesn't model fatigue, stamina, and encumbrance in combat very well.
Perhaps, instead of heavy, inertial. That is, something light is easily pushed out of the way. Something with high inertia would be the opposite of that. IRL, that means something heavy and/or fast-moving, but magic lets us divorce inertia from being strictly a function of momentum. You can have something which deadens such forces without being difficult to carry; perhaps working it produces an "oriented" material (that is, it has "sides" that work differently), so it requires a skilled artisan to craft an orichalcum armor that is "directed" in such a way to be easy to wear but hard to oppose. Weapons would likewise be difficult, needing to have the "easy-push" side near the handle and the "hard-to-push" side near the damaging end.

That would justify it being a generic +1 material for both arms and armor: it's difficult to stop its motion when it is moving, and difficult to start its motion when it's still, unless you happen to be the person wielding it. Extra inertia without extra effort from the user.
 

Arakhor

Explorer
You could simply lean into its reputation for light and/or godliness, by saying that orichalchum weapons counts as magic for the purposes of damage reduction when used against undead, and they deal one extra point of radiant damage at all times. Orichalcum armour, on the other hand, might grant Advantage on saving throws against necrotic damage.
 

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